Court: ADA Violated When Employer Withdrew Job Offer Over Worker’s Past Medical Condition

Another reminder that the ADA requires employers to base hiring decisions on an applicant’s current  condition–not concerns over a past condition.

Two years ago I wrote about a lawsuit that the EEOC had brought against a Florida-based manufacturing company where the issue was its firing of an engineer because he did not produce medical documentation for an old medical condition.

In this case, the company took back its offer of a permanent job to Michael Matanic because he did not provide a  medical release relating to a six-year-old successful back surgery. According to the EEOC, this was an ADA violation because, the company, American Tool & Mold Inc., had essentially fired him based on the perception that he was disabled.

Last week, a federal district court in Florida sided with the EEOC on the merits of the case. The court’s holding speaks to the limits of the discretion the ADA allows an employer to withdraw a job offer based on the results of a pre-employment medical exam. The employer can do this only if an “individualized determination” shows the impairment will preclude the job applicant from performing the job’s essential functions.

The company argued that without the old medical documentation it had know way of knowing whether Matanic was still subject to work restrictions that would prevent him from performing the job. But the court said that the company had never performed that individualized assessment and didn’t know which job functions were essential for the job. Thus, a win for the EEOC.


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